StreamFX has grown into one of the most used plugins for OBS Studio, often being called essential for big and small creators alike. And yet, there is a massive problem facing StreamFX: A lack of funding. Like any project, StreamFX can't survive without it, so where do we go from here?
Currently the funding come from Github Sponsors, Twitch Subscriptions, Patreon, and my own job. The first three make up around $110 in total (+- some amount), which I'm really thankful for. While $110 is not a lot, it does help a bit, and reduces my time spent at work ever so slightly.
The way Forward
If we look at the monthly download numbers for just the major stable releases, we can see close to 22k downloads. Assuming that around 75% of those downloads are redownloads from the same user, we arrive at around 5k unique users.
If even half of these users were to support both OBS Studio and StreamFX with just $1 per month both projects would be in a much better place. I could hire a 2nd developer for MacOS or Vulkan, which would open up many new possibilities for StreamFX.
However that's not what we're seeing at all, despite my attempts to get people to support the project more. That leaves just one question then: How can I make supporting StreamFX more attractive?
Option 1: Removable Ads in the App
In the modern world, ads are the primary way to get paid for work without requiring a subscription. This option would add an ad to the OBS Studio app window that can only be removed by supporting the project in some way. I'm not a particular fan of this option, so this is my least favourite one - and very unlikely to happen.
Option 2: Bundled Software in the Installer
Used by some software like Cheat Engine, FileZilla and others to pay for development cost, but often associated with bad press due to the software being installed despite clicking no or even trying to trick users into accepting by moving the accept button where the decline button would be. More likely than option 1, but still not my go-to option.
Option 3: Locking new features behind a Paywall
This is the the option I've thought about the most. Every currently existing feature would stay free, while new features would require supporting the project. Unlocking the features would simply be signing in with your account and things would appear on the next OBS Studio launch. Even the $1/mo tiers would be enough to unlock the features. It is the least intrusive way I can think of, and the most likely to happen.
Option 4: Removable Watermark
Watermarks are the easiest way to get people to support something. Those that don't care about the project will simply ignore them (or crop them off like art thieves), and those actually wanting to help the project will look for a way to remove them legally. Similar to Option 3, removing them requires actively supporting the project. Probably going to happen in combination with option 3 (for new features).
These four were the only options I could come up with. My current approach is not working out, and I see the plugin used in streams of bigger creators all the time with rarely even any mention of it - or any support from those creators. This saddens me as I see people benefiting from my work and choosing to ignore the struggles of the people actually making the work benefit them.
What do you think about all this? Do you think I'm in the wrong and should just live on exposure bux, or should I implement one of the options mentioned above? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or as a reply to the social media message you used to get here.